Col du Tourmalet

Campan, France

The Col du Tourmalet is a col with a length of 16.9 kilometer. This is a highest category (HC) col. It is located in Campan, Midi-Pyrénées, France. The average grade of this col is 7.4% with a maximum of 9.5%. The Col du Tourmalet ascents from 873 meter at the start, to 2.115 meter at the top, with a total of 1.242 ascending meters.


Col du Tourmalet Profile


Distance 16.9 km
Elevation gain 1242 m
Average grade 7.4 %
Maximum grade 9.5 %
Climb category HC
Minimum elevation 873 m
Maximum elevation 2115 m

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Some Frenchmen believe that Tourmalet translates into "bad trip" or "bad detour" because in French Tour translates into "trip" and mal translates into "bad"; however, the correct language to translate from is Gascon, not French, because of the mountain's location in the Gascony-region and the "du" in the name, which is the Gascon pendant to the French "de". Then Tour becomes "distance", which is spelled "tur" but pronounced "tour", mal is translated into "mountain", and it becomes "the". The translation from Gascon to English then becomes "The Distance Mountain".

The Col du Tourmalet is one of the most famous climbs on the Tour de France. It has been included more than any other pass, starting in 1910, when the Pyrenees were introduced. The first rider over was Octave Lapize, who went on to win the general classification in Paris. In 1913, Eugène Christophe broke his fork on the Tourmalet and repaired it himself at a forge in Sainte-Marie-de-Campan.

Up to 2019, the Tour has visited the Col du Tourmalet a total of 87 times. The total includes three stage finishes at the summit and three at La Mongie. Since 1980 it has been ranked hors catégorie, or exceptional. The Vuelta a España has also crossed the pass several times.

- Tour de France 1910 - Stage 10
- Tour de France 2001 - Stage 14
- Tour de France 2002 - Stage 11 (La Mongie - finish)
- Tour de France 2003 - Stage 15
- Tour de France 2011 - Stage 12
- Tour de France 2018 - Stage 19